Former Attorney General Eric Holder is back to his former big Washington law firm, where he says he plans to help corporate clients on litigation while also working on civil rights and public interest matters.
After six years as attorney general, the third longest-serving, Holder left the Justice Department in April upon the confirmation of his successor Loretta Lynch. He’s now back as partner at Covington and Burling, LLP, the firm he worked for eight years before President Barack Obama nominated him to lead the Justice Department.
In the months since, Holder told CNN, he has spent time with family and discovered the joys of binge-watching television shows. Among the shows he’s spent time watching are Showtime’s “House of Lies” and HBO’s “True Detective,” he said in a telephone interview.
His plans for a cross-country driving trip with a friend — a longtime bucket list item — remain on hold because he still has a security detail. “The carbon footprint would be really too much,” Holder joked.
During his time previous stint at Covington, Holder represented corporate clients that prompted later criticism of his record on prosecuting corporate crime during his tenure as attorney general.
But Holder said he doesn’t view his return to the big law firm as a “revolving door.” Holder noted that he has spent more time as a public servant, including as a prosecutor and judge.
“Just because I’m at Covington doesn’t mean I will abandon the public interest work,” he worked on at the Justice Department, including civil rights and changing criminal sentencing laws.
Holder said he was proud of his role in the administration’s legal moves that led to the recent Supreme Court opinion declaring same-sex marriage legal across country.
In 2011, the Justice Department told Congress the president had ordered that it would no longer legally defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Critics in Congress took aim at Holder for the decision.
Holder says “you can draw a line from that decision, along with other decisions the administration made, to the [High] Court’s ruling.”
But the legal fight isn’t over, he said. Holder said he expects in the next two terms, the Supreme Court to have to referee a fight over tensions between gays’ legal right to marry and religious conservatives’ right to not participate in or provide services to events they object to on religious grounds.
In the coming months, Holder also plans to announce his role in a new think-tank that focuses on civil and voting rights issues.